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The Fragrance Foundation UK

#ScentMemories

Month

October 2018

Virginie Duigou

One of my standout fragrance memories is of my mother and her love for rose fragrances. When I was a little girl, I would sit in awe as my mother would apply her makeup so effortlessly and pin up her hair before finishing her ‘mise en beaute’ by spraying the same fragrance every day. I remember the hints of floral notes mixed with the amber scent she would leave behind as she would walk by or give me a kiss good night.

Ruth Mastenbroek

My mother adored perfume, and her favourite was Youth Dew by Estee Lauder, which was launched in 1953. My family emigrated to the US when I was 4 years old, and I wonder if it epitomised the liberation she must have felt, leaving England and everything she had ever known. Just a whiff of it, even now, transports me back to my childhood, to visions of her wardrobe of 1950’s-style party dresses, full skirts of taffeta with velvet bodices; I would try on Mom’s high heels while she got ready to go out, hair coiffed, makeup carefully applied. Her bedroom would be temporarily strewn with powders and potions, eye makeup, lipsticks… My mother would have her hair done once a week, and the scent of Elnett hairspray featured large… but Youth Dew would overpower everything with its spicy sweet intensity. Smelling it makes me sentimental, looking back to a time of my life that I cherish, when my mother was young and beautiful, when she had the world at her feet. From childhood I knew I wanted to be a part of the world of glamour, of fashion… my mother showed me that your choice of perfume is a personal statement. In a way I have been following the trail of Youth Dew ever since!

 

Mandy Aftel

My favourite scent memory is when I was a child, my mother kissing me good night before she went out with my father on Saturday evenings. A cloud of her signature Joy perfume enveloped me, along with the infinite softness of her mink. The heady, narcotic aroma of those flowers took me to exotic places in my imagination, far removed from our predictable suburban routines.

Celia Lyttelton

Sitting with Socotran fisherman smelling ambergris, (that they had found floating on the waves 35 years ago) smoking on embers of cinnabar wood. As the grains of ambergris fumes rose in a cobwebbed skein to the rafters where some young fisherman lay supine in hammocks the aroma had a velvety sea briny effervescent effect, evocative of seaweed-infused mint, liliaceous and redolent of a misty autumn morning , of truffles, mushrooms, moss and ferns.

Jeff Waters

The way a smell can trigger a memory, is still a wonderful mystery. It’s as if we have a tiny time machine back there waiting for the right fragrance to whisk us off to days long forgotten and certain perfumes, more than others, seem to punctuate our lives and make those recollections even fonder. The other day I saw a bottle of Estee Lauder’s Youth Dew which was my mother’s favourite. I picked it up. Same bottle, same colour, the little sash of gold around its waist tied into the same bow but the last time I had smelled it, even held it, was over 40 years ago so I expected some changes. I sprayed it into the air and indeed it was somehow sharper, a little processed, like a new cognac from an old barrel, but then a couple of minutes after it had settled something miraculous happened. The memories rushed in and within seconds  I was a 6-year old in pyjamas, in my childhood home being baby-sat by my grandmother as my mother and father went out for the evening. It was the scent of excitement, watching them go to their glamorous party whilst leaving that fragrance behind her in the room, hanging in the air and on me as she kissed me goodnight and vanished like something out of a fairy tale. Forty years turned into magical mist. Then I realized my favourite smell in the world is love and the people it reminds us of.

Susan Irvine

I always loved driving into Edinburgh and entering the city’s smellspace. It’s a grand, a rich and a swaggering smell, as distinctive as bagpipes. I would like to be a dog and roll in it. The smell comes from the city’s distilleries and breweries. At one time it was so strong that breathing as you came in from the west was like inhaling a malted liqueur through your nostrils. The aroma has lessened as distilleries have shut down decade by decade. Worse was the news that the last of them, the North British Grain Distillery, was planning anti-emissions towers to kill off the smell. The distilling of whisky is to Edinburgh what the distilling of rose de mai is to Grasse: an olfactory heritage to be treasured. Lang may it reek!

Tonya Kidd-Beggs

I am a fragrance designer and the Founder of a fragrance line called Stories by Eliza Grace. It all started because of my grandmother. She was an extraordinary business woman and broke a lot of glass ceilings for women in her time. Sadly, I never met her but I was told she always wore Chanel NO.5 and that smell is still what connects me to her today. Fragrance has always been a way for me to connect with who I am and what matters to me, it has always evoked memories for me. So that’s the reason I wanted to create fragrance, to give people the space to stop and connect with either their past, their present or even dream for their future.

Nancy Meiland

My earliest scent memories are the most powerful and visceral.  My mother’s skin in the sunshine, burying my nose in large heady blooms of rose in my Grandmother’s garden while running about barefoot.  My grandfather’s wax jacket coming in from the rain and damp, be-dewed forest floors. Also, the steamy, leather, lemony hay scent when a saddle is lifted off a horse and the sea – always the sea; briny, salt, seaweed, rich, earthy and full of mystery.

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